casual sex in anime vs. american tv

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One thing that I find fascinating about anime is how it perceives sex when compared to American TV. A good example would be Shana 11, where Shana’s mom goes on extolling about how special kissing is. For American TV, kissing is almost a throwaway. Kissing and sex are treated very casually in American TV to the point where it’s almost a joke and trivial.

(I not saying this for all American TV, but the odds are against it… 7th Heaven, Doogie Howser, and Picket Fences are a few exceptions.)

I still remember watching Seinfeld and Cheers when growing up, and almost every episode either dealt with a new relationship (read: sex) issue for either Seinfeld, Elaine, Sam, or even George. Sex was just a punchline… oh, it’s funny that she snores loudly after sex! Oh, it’s funny to bet how long we can go without, uh, you know! Oh, it’s funny to see Sam get it on with Diane with Becky watching! Almost all successful primetime sitcoms — Friends, Frasier, Married with Children, Everybody Loves Raymond, Newsradio, Cheers, Fresh Prince — were ungodly focused on sex. And, it doesn’t end nor start with just sitcoms… what do you think Ally McBeal, Baywatch, Law and Order: SVU, The OC, Ed, Melrose Place, 90210, Laguna Beach, and Sex and the City were about? And even completely unexpected genres like sci-fi have tons of sex… I mean, can you name one cast member from TNG or DS9 that didn’t get any action? They even had an two episode Worf and Ezri Dax “Maybe we shouldn’t have slept together arc” during the height of the Dominion War. Or the infamous zero-g room in Space Above and Beyond. Toss in some Battlestar Galactica and Xena: Warrior Princess, and sci-fi is just as smutty as any other genre. And I’m not even going to go into the social morass that is Blind Date, Cheaters, and Jerry Springer.

According to all of these TV shows, sex is funny and hip and there’s not really a lot of emotional consequences beyond hallucinating and seeing a dancing baby. For anime, though, it’s a lot different. It’s not that there isn’t sex, it is just not handled as casually: there are no simple hookups, and there’s no punchline. (Note: I’m not considering h-titles. I’m pairing network TV against network TV. I’m also not comparing movies… there was more sex in Lord of War than in Ninja Scroll, Ghost in the Shell, and Mind Game combined. I’m also not considering rape, as there’s more of that on Lifetime than even SVU.) Let’s do a quick rundown of all the filthy sex I remember seeing in anime:

  • The most poignant occurence is for Kare Kano, and, 18 episodes in, Arima and Yukino decide to have sex. I haven’t watched Kare Kano in years, but I still remember it well, if only because of the build up and how the series is defined by the two of them building a relationship together. While the anime was very funny for the most part, their act wasn’t a joke. It wasn’t discarded or laughed at like it would be for Seinfeld or Newsradio. Kare Kano showed the mentality of the two afterwards and how they changed, especially with Arima getting a bit darker. Arima and Yukino had to deal with some real emotional consequences.
  • In Ai Yori Aoshi, where it’s somewhat, but lightly, implied that Aoi and Kaoru slept together on the final episode of the original series. Okay, they build a relationship over the course of a series and lifetime… they’re engaged to each other… they’re adults (Kaoru is in grad school)… so… it’s not unexpected, and it’s treated with dignity. This is also an odd case, since it’s one of the few harem series to feature sex (no, I’m not counting Green Green), and isn’t that a genre that’s supposed to be dripping in it?
  • Next, there’s Gundam Seed, where Kira gets it on with Flay and then Dullindel with Talia, but, again Kira has his consequences to deal with, and it wasn’t random sex. Flay did her best vixen bit, and for an episode, GS became a bit 90210… but the sex drove the series? No, it was still the plastic model whoring.
  • Okusama wa Mahou Shoujo had Agnes’ lecherous husband, but it’s strange to juxatapose Agnes’ “cannot kiss” criteria against her husband’s, “It’s okay to bang my secretary” mindset. Extremes, but it is a plot device meant to build sympathy for one while contempt for another. Similar concept for Eri’s father in FLCL.
  • Shiki and Ms. Bumstead in Tsukihime. Bittersweet ending for Shiki, I guess.
  • Koi Kaze. Brings up an interesting point, which I’ll get to later.
  • There’s also Misato x Kaji for Evangelion, yet it’s usually a footnote compared to the rest of the TV series.
  • Paranoia Agent, TSR, and others had their shares of prostitutes. But it’s not like CSI or SVU never had episodes about prostitutes either.
  • GTO. Though, only in the live action version did Onizuka finally lose his virginity. I’ll still count it…
  • Natsuki gave Takumi a “graduation present” in the Initial D manga… can’t remember if it made it into the anime. If not, she can at least fit in the compensated dating category.
  • Then there’s Fasalina in the cockpit for Gun x Sword… which was probably the most unnecessary rite-of-passage. This was as unnecessary as Mulder’s romp with that vampire or Kaylee’s engine servicing in Firefly.

BTW, all of these examples save for Arima and Yukino, they’re more or less all adults.

Looking at the list and recalling the past TVs that I have watched, there’s just no comparison. The amount of sex in American TV is just astronomically more than anime. There’s more sex in an episode of Ally McBeal than ten years worth of anime. Yet, why does anime have this perception of sexual deviancy amongst some people, as illustrated by the ineptness of some recent media outlets? Is it because there’s a lot of filthy sex in anime? No, especially when compared to standard American TV. Is it because there’s a lot of sexual imagery? Well, that’s up for debate. I watched Magical Lyrical Girl Nanoha and thought, “Well-told story, well-executed fight scenes, and I’m glad they hired an English speaker for Raging Heart.” Someone else, i.e. think Genshiken‘s Madrame, would have different thoughts. But, again, is it anime’s fault? What’s the fundamental difference between Magical Girl Nanoha and Magical Girl Agnes? Their age? Or how we perceive them? Is it even valid to lump one’s fantasies with what’s really out there? I’m sure a lot of ladies (and non-traditional males) have fantasies about Tom Brady. Does it mean he’s ecchi? At some point, common sense has to stop in.

Let’s say you’re a parent with growing kids. Will you be more concerned if the kids watched Dawson’s Creek and Friends and start thinking that sex is trivial, funny, and become desensitized to it? Or if they watch Gun x Sword and build a giant robot controlled by a stripper pole? One is real and presented as reality. The other is not real and not presented as reality. Will you be more concerned over shows like MTV’s The Real World (which features an ungodly amount of wanton sex) and wonder if that’s better or worse than Nanoha A‘s? I mean, is there really a comparison? A TV show that basically says, “It’s fine to get drunk everyday, sleep with as many people as possible, and act like total jackasses,” against a TV show that tries to entertain with a focus on friendship and doing one’s best? The sexual message out of something like The Real World is there and in your face. It’s not coy. It’s not subtle. It’s just there. For most anime, like Nanoha and even Sailor Moon, there has to be that extra leap from the viewers imagination to get there. Again, where does one draw the line? There’s no sex in the show. There’s no sexual inneudo or jokes in the show (except for maybe Chrono’s name). They are school girls… does that make it not right? How are they different from the girls on Saved by the Bell or pre-2001 Britney Spears?

Eva Episode 20

It’s not like underaged sex doesn’t happen in American TV either: Homer and Marge (they weren’t older than Arima and Yukino), Picket Fences, and Doogie Howser dealed with this issue. It’s not like American TV didn’t showcase their jailbait either… for example, Nicole Eggbert back in her Charles in Charge days, Catherine Bach in Dukes of Hazzard, and Holly Marie Combs in her Picket Fences role. Just because there’s an attractive girl in a TV series, it suddenly makes it smutty? We don’t use that judgement for American TV, so why use it for anime? Just because Hinata Natsumi is drawn cutely, does it make Keroro Gunso any less or more smutty than Charles in Charge?

I think the fundamental diffence is how sex is conveyed in anime vs. American TV: whereas American TV is upfront with its sexual content, anime is more coy. I think there’s three reasons why people may perceive anime as being sexual in content:

  • Moe. Even if there’s no explicit sex in anime, there may be a lot of fetish-catering. I don’t remember seeing any nekomimi meido on American TV, but there’s sure a lot more in anime. (Yokata!)
  • Progressiveness. Anime has always tackled themes a bit more progressive than network American TV. Remember the fuss about the first lesbian kiss on Ellen? Didn’t Alpha have her lesbian kiss a few years prior? It kinda happens all the time in anime now… yet they had to pull the lesbian relationship from The OC because it was too hawt. It’s The OC! If we can’t have hawt lesbian action in that, what can we have it on?
  • Taboo. Getting back to Koi Kaze, anime isn’t afraid to tackle taboo issues to try and present a story. There’s just no way mainstream American TV would show something like Koi Kaze, even if it is more about dealing with one’s feelings and despair than sleeping with a sibling. 90210 pushed a lot of envelopes, but it never had a Brandon x Brenda storyline. Also, anime shows us things like a nakkid Arika getting wrapped by a nakkid Sergey Wong and (hopefully) Suzu bathing with Ikuto. I just can’t see this happening on network shows… except for many Jerry Springer (and maybe Maury Povich).

All of these three points — moe, progressiveness, and taboo — aren’t explicit ideals. They don’t hammer and aren’t as loud as the explicit casualness of sex on American TV. Is it worse to have to imagine? Or is it worse to actually see? That becomes the fundamental difference between anime and American TV. One is seen. One is not as easily seen.

Still, lost in argument thus far has been “is anime actively trying to be sexy for viewers?” A good microcosm is to compare American animated shows aimed at adults against their anime brethren. The SimpsonsFamily GuyFuturamaVenture BrosBoondocksStripperella… even The Critic all had many episodes focused on sex, and there’s a plethora of sexual jokes and innuendoes for the other episodes as well. Can I think of an American animated series for adults that isn’t focused on sex? No. Can I think of an adult-oriented anime series that doesn’t rely on sex to entertain and tell a story? Mushishi. H2. Aa! Megami-sama. Cowboy Bebop. Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig. Crest of the Stars.

Anime has proven itself to be a verstile and wide form of entertainment, and, still, it is less smutty than American TV. With or without sex, it can entertain and tell a good story whereas sex has almost become a necessary crutch for American TV these days. So before people starting complaining about the sexual content in anime, maybe they should take a good, hard look at what’s on MTV, Fox, and TBS first. Maybe it’s time to be worried about the sex that we can see before worring about the sex that we can’t.

(Meta: I starting writing this post a long time ago. Never happy with all my drafts. Not really happy with this. But if I didn’t publish, I don’t think I ever would. And, yes, I do feel like an old fogey when I can remember Charles in Charge… I think a piece of me just died.)

21 Responses to “casual sex in anime vs. american tv”

  1. Nicely written piece of work here, but I think you left out an important part which is the mindset of Asians.

    Generally, for us, sex is a very important rite of passage to adulthood and signifies commitment, though this belief is recently being underscored by the major influence of sex in Western shows being aired on local networks.

    In fact, I remember a few local cases where some movies with some overt sex scene were banned, while some titles with over-the-top violence were allowed by the Censorship Board, leading to some people saying that the policy of the Board was “Make war, not love” XD.

    But still, the actual act of having sex is quite an important milestone to us Asians, and it is a very big step from accidentally revealing your naked self to other s to engaging in sex,which is why, while fanservice is there is spades in a lot of anime, the real act of intercourse itself is rarely done, except if it’s really called on. In fact, the only rare exceptions are Gainax shows, as you’ve mentioned in your post.

  2. Saikano did kinda show the act of sex between Chise and Sho in the series along with a few other characters I think. Chise and Sho were underaged when they had sex but I think their reason to have sex was more for Chise than Sho himself as she need to feel human as the warmachine side of her was slowly taking over.

    I just wanted to mention this as another example of underaged sex.

  3. Here’s a quick thought: who are these people you are referring to, who think anime is so smutty? I’m wondering whether that sample population is really representative of the entire United States. You even state yourself that the media outlets conducting are inept/inconsequential/sleazy tabloids, so maybe it’s too early to be crying foul play here.

    But just for fun, let’s pretend we’re probing the mind of the so-called researcher, and consider a few demographic filters…

    Are you consulting with small children? If so, it would be odd to find that they consider DBZ, Pokemon, or Yugioh to be smutty. Thus, I would assume that any stigma of smuttiness would be derived from the teens/adults.

    If so, then where do these people get their anime exposure? Do they go to the store and randomly browse the DVD or manga covers? Because those tend to feature scantily clad buxom women, reason being that a good deal of the licensed stuff that makes it over to the U.S. is fanservicy crap. The covers of 90210 or Friends DVDs are fairly plain, in comparison, regardless of the actual content of the shows.

    Alternatively, maybe they get their info from media outlets (who have polled people that were influenced by another media outlet…who…), which are always on a lookout for a shock story. Having already complained about American TV since the Stone Age, these press sources latched onto the next big thing, and voila! Instant misconceptions planted into the subconscious of millions.

    Now, if the people you refer to have developed this preconception based on anime they have actually selectively watched, then…well…they have no excuse other than their poor taste. It’s their own fault that they watched Battle Vixens! Either that, or they are horny teenagers deliberately looking for this kind of fix, in which case we can just throw this whole argument out the window…

    Also keep in mind that everyone Americans don’t all watch the same thing…a grandma who doesn’t watch Friends/Ally McBeal or whatnot would naturally think anime is smutty – compared to C-SPAN! Whereas, the O.C. devout might not think anime is smutty at all!

    Demographics are a major factor in these opinion polls, so it’s a tricky issue to answer without knowing the specifics.

  4. I sense a disturbance in the Jason…

    I agree with Ender’s opening statement—I doubt anyone is really worried about anime being too “shallow” or “casual” with regards to sex. I haven’t heard any news of this, aside from the mutual hatred of hentai in governments. And that’s hentai, not anime. :/

  5. I think it’s because people aren’t considering sex as their measure of “smuttiness”. While yes, there is usually more sex-related content in one episode of an American show than in an entire anime series, between moe, fetishes, and fanservice, there ends up being more erotic content in a random anime episode than in an entire American TV series.

    Also, since most anime airs at pretty random times and doesn’t air during Golden Hour, there aren’t as many people watching (read: as many people to have to worry about offending). My-Otome had nekkid Arika and nekkid Major Wang, but My-Otome was also on at 1:30am, not 7:30pm.

  6. Kurogane, I’m focusing on just the West. I’m also not focusing on culture, rather just raw content. Try and measure what’s out there. I’m sure there’s very few people outside of people in American during the late 80’s that rememeber Doogie or Picket Fences.

    Ender, we don’t vote for President on demographics. It’s not like, “Well, you’re 18 to 25 and male, so your vote only counts for 0.75”. I’m going for general, and I’m taking the worst of both. Notice how I don’t bring into question Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Sanford and Son, or Barney. And, again, the fundamental question is, “What’s worse?” Is it American media in general? Or anime in general? You can’t say well… it’s worse if you’re in this demographic. You’re going to have a hard time convincing me that Gundam Seed aimed at a different age bracket than something like Fresh Prince. And for how companies promote products, yes, I cringed when I saw how ADV promoted SisPri, but that’s yet another issue. I’m just looking at content. And fan choice? It’s your choice to pick up an Ikkitousen DVD… I mean, that’s not the issue. Is Ikkitousen more or less sexual than, let’s say, Baywatch? That’s the issue.

    jpmeyer, actually that’s the question. What is worse? The sex you see in The Real World? Or the sex you see in Kare Kano? If you were a parent, which would you be more concerned about? I’m going to ignore show times, because I’m focusing on the English audience, and there’s no time restriction when you can slide a DVD in or click on a fansub. BTW, Gundam Seed, Eva, and Kare Kano all aired during Golden Hour.

  7. At the same time, I also believe that there was a big controversy and public outcry over the sex scenes in Eva and Gundam Seed? Eva was already treading on thin ice after it lost its sponsors because of graphic violence in ep 17.

    I don’t think that you can do a straight sex-to-sex comparison (nor can you do a direct fanservice/nudity-to-fanservice-nudity comparison) because of the different cultural norms. What it comes down to IMO is that both countries have warped representations of sex/gender, except they do them both in different ways. America has stuff like Sex in the City providing a hyperreal picture of sex, relationships, body issues, etc. while anime has something like He is my Master. HiMM doesn’t have fucking, and Sex in the City rarely has nudity, but they both contribute to the eroding of the Real and the commodification of sex in their respective cultures.

    If you’re dealing with an American audience, you’ve also got cross-culture issues that need to be addressed, which can annoying to sort out. Speaking for myself for instance, part of the reason that I thought that Chobits was funnier than most harem shows was because it was a sex comedy that actually like, had sexual humor (and actually had sex!) as opposed to just gratuitious raunchiness. But is that reasoning because I’m an American male who thus is innundated by my society and culture and media with sex? And also dealing with harem comedies, I wonder what it means that the male protagonist is usually pretty sexually inert and/or gynophobic (I THINK that’s a word).

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that while anime doesn’t provide a direct distortion of sex like something like Gray’s Anatomy or Melrose Place, animes like say, Nanoha still distort reality for viewers (“I’m only attracted to 2-D girls”).

    (BTW, when I go for my Ph.D. next year, I’m writing my dissertation on gender and sexuality in anime, so getting to have discussions like this make me all kinds of excited.)

  8. I think you guys are looking at this through otaku-tinted glasses. I don’t think hentai is a word many regular Americans would recognize. They may not know the word hentai, but you can bet that’s what a lot of them think anime is and all it is.

    The explicitness of sex in American TV is unimportant. The real problem is what sex is portrayed as being. It’s shown as either a farce, or something that can be done with complete irresponibility. These are not healthy attitudes. It could be worse though, they don’t portray sex as sin and a matter of shame.

  9. Well I disagree with your assessment that there is more sexual content in American TV than in Anime. If you compared across all the networks available in both countries, it is probably more or less the same since the shows that you used for your sample are popular for many obvious reasons. Let’s avoid such general statements, since at the same time I could argue that there is more lewd content in Gainax productions than in Greatest Raids on the History Channel. You can’t really ignore the cultural gulf that separates the Japanese from the Americans. Like it or not the US is a very conservative nation in many regards and from what I have been told by some fellows who were part of my gaming group who work in the porn industry the Government exerts very tight control and any accusation of misconduct is always investigated.

    Another interesting note that at one point while the FBI was turning down applications, they were actively recruiting in Utah, not that the FBI caters to a certain demographic… I suspect that the reason that sex is treated so casually and more often as a punch line is that you can get away with it without inviting the wrath of the FCC. Comedy has long been a western tool to address issues that mattered; Voltaire’s “Candide” is a prime example of a masterful use of comedy to criticize the ills of society. In recent years you have the Daily Show lampooning the corruption that seems to be rampant in the Republican Party. The reason why Jon Stewart hasn’t been decried as a traitor is because as a comedian no one is expected to take him seriously. Besides if any show were to treat sex in a serious manner Pat Robertson would probably give you an un-welcome visit, and seriously do you want to have him tell you about his next prayer campaign?

    Also since when was the responsibility of teaching the birds and the bees thrust upon TV? It is somewhat wasteful to debate about the lewdness of TV when parents shrink away from talking to their children, only to go on about how TV is hurting their children. If you teach your children well then they can draw their own conclusions about sex.

    It is most unfortunate that when the word anime is mentioned that the first thing that comes to mind is Pokemon and now Hentai. The reason for this grossly distorted view is obvious; there is no present mainstream acceptance of anime in the US. The reason why video games have entered mainstream popularity is also largely due to the fact that a lot of the people who grew up with their Super NES and Super Famicom are now adults. In a few years when a whole generation of Otakus grows up into maturity the trend will change.

    I am very prudish when it comes to the sins of the flesh, but being soldier in the pay of the US government I am in no real position to criticize (Still who is worse the rapist or the murderer?). The only difference is that I chose Wrath as my deadly sin, and while the rest of America was watching sitcoms, I was glued to the History Channel. For me Anime is just a way to kill time during deployment, since access to my other hobbies and TV is restricted.

    -I am a soldier in the pay of the United States Government. If I vote against the administration I am voting against my commander in chief. If I vote for the administration I am being bought.

  10. Wow. A lot of good points. See, this is why I should make more controversial posts instead of just doing “Shakugan no Shana ##” all the time. After re-reading what I wrote tonight, I realize why I wasn’t happy with it– it’s not fun to read. I hate writing things that aren’t fun to read.

    jpmeyer, maybe you are right. The sex in American TV prepared me for anime. Or was it the other way around? Though, HiMM hasn’t eroded anything in me except for my confidence in Gainax to make good anime again (Konomimi? WTF?).

    Matt, I complained mostly about how American TV can’t entertain without sex anymore. It’s sad when the most wholesome entertainment that I can find is either (1) Food Network (2) Dancing with the Stars and (3) WWE Raw Is War Nova.

    Crusader, don’t worry. The 22nd amendment makes sure that you don’t have to worry about that in 2008. I don’t want to get into a discussion about conservatism in the US. That’s out of my scope of knowledge. What I do know is that sex isn’t exactly common in anime. Going back to my example of American animated TV shows, anime also does a better job of appealing to adults without resorting to sex or sexual gags… when was the last time you watched an American equivalent of something like Mushishi or Aa! Megami-sama? Animated or not? Does it say something about this conservative society if it can’t produce non-sexual animated entertainment?

  11. The act of sex in anime may not be that common, but one the flip side fan-service is rampant and is more widespread than the Black Death in the 14th century. Most of this fan-service is sexual in nature and for me it would seem that it is also becoming a crutch for the Japanese as much as sex is for the Americans.

    As for non-sexual entertainment, I never found Inspector Gadget to be sexual in nature, but that was in the 80s. I still think GI Joe is great if only for the cheese factor.

    I recently dug up Space Battleship Yamato and even there you can see fan-service in its earliest incarnation, so there is little doubt in my mind that anime never really had a prudish tradition to look back upon (Seriously what w3as their equivalent of Bambi?). A notable exception must be made for Ghibli as Hayao Miyazaki and his successors have yet to tread down the all too easy path.

    The fact that more people got offended at Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction than having the super bowl ruined forever more by having pop singers pollute the hallowed fields is indicative of the persistent Puritanism and idiotry of America (not to mention the commercials for male “enhancement”). The only expression of sex that is not under attack by pointless legislation is comedy as the more conservative elements have always underestimated this form of expression. If done correctly a comedy can have a comparable message as a drama, all it takes is a masterful use of wit and innuendo and in my opinion is much harder to do successfully.

    The fact that comedy has become the last refuge for widespread discussion of certain topics indicates that free speech has become way too polarized and the middle ground is being shot out from under my ass. Comedy is a great media to convey ideas, as it points out the absurdities of long held double standards, and social inequality. The problem is when it becomes the only means to a mass public forum for discussion it generally means that reason has had to go underground to avoid stupidity and idiot idolatry.

    -Don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.

  12. Just to give in my opinon. Albeit much of what I have to say has probably been mentioned. One of the top reasons I do not watch an American t.v. is because of sex. The only series I watch is Gilmore Girls and the two “top” reality fashion shows you must guess which. I am completely sick and tired off the amount of sex on t.v. The stupid overused jokes and all that. Every show I watch seems to veer in that direction and so I stop watching the show. When Rory lost her virginity it upset me. Because I know that the people of the show are trying to say “Oh, she just another girl with temptations and she was not going to stay innocent forever”. I and many young adults out there still have not lost their virginity an I loved that series for that. I remembered when Rory received her acceptance letters and what Lorelei said and it made me cry. But, no every show has to turn into a complete raunch. Now every episode I see she’s with that ugly boyfriend of her’s in bed. Quite unncessary.

    Anime to me was an escape once I think of it and yet I like watching the scenes where things heat up a bit. Just as long as it does not become sex. I actually hated when Arima had sex with Yukino in Kare Kano. Is that the culmination or the start of a relationship? No it is not. I was going to mention Genshiken when reading your article. In Genshiken you can say sex is taking pretty lightly what with Saki always wanting to distract Kousaka from his obsessions. Albeit the mentioning of sec in Genshiken is comedic and in my opinon highlights her insecurities, but at the same time it’s an unpositive image of women. I think it’s one of the few times I have seen it in anime (though it’s probably been done frequently) where the woman is needy. Yet, this morning I was turning off the t.v. when I saw the commercial of the Gauntlet on MTV where one of the women was “hooking up” with yet another guy (I know the whole story only from the commericals imagine that). I thought to myself women will do anything with the male appendge nowadays. It’s rediculous how women act then they say that men are disrespectful pigs. Well, it’s because society and the media practially tell them to be that way and like System of a Down says. Kids grow up watching this stuff. Anime I think is no stranger from that though. What with the things male characters often do to women in anime. Now that’s all a part of their culture and the fact that grabbing in trains is an everyday thing.

    My point is that neither of them is innocent, but anime is like you said less focused on it (not counting hentai that’s just like saying porn) and if it does it it is usually in better taste. Not casually and the focus of everything.

  13. The sad fact right now is that when you say the word ‘anime’ to a good 70% (My number, pulled right out of my gluteus maximus) of the general population, they will either say ‘Oh, like Pokemon?’ ‘What’s that?’ or ‘Oh, those cartoons with the tentacles and stuff.’

    What we need is one of the big top networks…or even UPN…showing a series that has almost nothing in the way of nudity, giant robots, or any kind of fanservice as it is generally recognized (Ignoring the fact that cute girls with (or without) glasses or giant robots are THEMSELVES fanservice, because that’s what fans like…) during prime time. Something like….Haibane Renmei, or…. …..Crap, I can’t think of another series that doesn’t have giant robots or obvious fanservice…Well, Ghibli films are always good for that stuff.

    Unfortunately, right now, anime is basically relegated to two time slots if it’s not a kids-slash-cartoon channel (YTV, Cartoon Network, etc); Saturday mornings and after midnight. Even the series with little fanservice, violence, or other such ‘objectionable’ content. (And even after they’ve been edited. Gundam SEED got edited like crazy, and then they STILL stuck it in the death sentance of time slots which is five thirty AM, then TWO AM.) Since anime is stuck in those time slots and channels that many average americans (age 18-35) won’t watch, even the good stuff..of which there is little that is on television(And even less stuff that’s been dubbed WELL. Ocean Group’s voice actors have less emotion in their voices than Ben freaking Stein on a percodin drip.)…is lost and ignored. The rest is changed beyond recognition or is just crap in the first place. (One Piece got changed beyond recognition, Beyblade was crap, Digimon Season 3 (AKA, Digimon Tamers) was really, really good…but because it was on Fox, it got buried between Mon Colle knights (Which was hacked to pieces) and *Fighting Foodons*. And Kinnikuman. And sometimes it got moved around in that ‘Fox Box’ block on saturday morning, so you didn’t know exactly when it would be on.

    I wish somebody would sub Digimon Tamers…Whoever owns the US rights (I think it’s either Fox itself or Saban) sure as hell isn’t going to do a subtitled version.

    …Back on track though…american TV has more than it’s share of fanservice. Look at just about any episode of..well..*any* american show. Is there a female in it? Does she have large breasts? If so, does she get put into skimpy, whorish outfits? How often? In this respect, american TV isn’t that different from japanese TV. There’s shows like Married with Children, with Kelly Bundy being a slut, and Peg Bundy wearing tight pants and low cut tops all the time, and then there’s shows like He Is My Master, with..well..pretty much exactly the same thing. Except Kelly was 17 or so, and the girls in HiMM were 13/14. Or something like Girls Bravo, or DearS. American and japanese TV both have, I would say, about equal amounts of scantily-clad females. Only Japan with with giant robots while we went with people having casual sex.

  14. This is kind of slanted. If you look in the realm of manga, you’ll find that there are plenty of series and stories involving lots of sex, one way or another. I think ultimately it plays to the audience. Sex tends to be much frequent for shoujo and josei manga than shounen or non-hentai otaku stuff, and there are very few shoujo and josei anime (like Ebichu) compared to, well, the stuff that are cited as anecdotes in the blog. Given how much anime out there panders to the otaku crowd, and then what’s left panders to children, there’s really not much left that you can say as culturally representative. On that note, sex is almost non-existant in American animation.

    When you think about it, it makes sense. It’s probably important to note that a fair amount of American sitcom and night-time drama also get aired in Japan, and people do watch them. I think you’re on to something here, but anime is definitely not where you should look to compare.

  15. Didn’t I say network TV shows only? This ain’t about US vs. Japanese culture. Focus. Limit the scope. Just US vs. Japanese network TV.

    “Sex is almost non-existant in American animation.” Uh, no. Go watch some Family Guy and South Park.

  16. I’m going to just copy and paste the last part of my minirant there, ’cause it *is* on track, and, I feel, quite relevant.

    …Back on track though…american TV has more than it’s share of fanservice. Look at just about any episode of..well..*any* american show. Is there a female in it? Does she have large breasts? If so, does she get put into skimpy, whorish outfits? How often? In this respect, american TV isn’t that different from japanese TV. There’s shows like Married with Children, with Kelly Bundy being a slut, and Peg Bundy wearing tight pants and low cut tops all the time, and then there’s shows like He Is My Master, with..well..pretty much exactly the same thing. Except Kelly was 17 or so, and the girls in HiMM were 13/14. Or something like Girls Bravo, or DearS. American and japanese TV both have, I would say, about equal amounts of scantily-clad females. Only Japan with with giant robots while we went with people having casual sex.

    Now, for the new stuff. As for WHY america went with casual sex and the japanese went with other things, *requires* us to delve into the differing cultures. But the fact remains…American TV has casual sex and fanservice, and japanese TV has a much wider selection of fanservice.

  17. I’ve read this thread and I find very very intresting. Since I’m italian, I can’t really comment tightly on American TV, but 90% of the shows you’ve mentioned are regularly aired here (dubbed in cousin, which is from Los Angeles, is always ROFL when he listens to these dubs – I agree with him).

    To put it simply, my two cents is that Anime is WAY better in handling sex, because it’s 90% of the times treated in such delicate, nice, and somewhat beautiful way. Now in italian TV, not the series from USA, take the comedy shows or big containers, sex is omni-present. It sells well. In reality shows the fanservice is a MUST. In the last 2 yrs, this “big brother” reality show isn’t even worth watching, if they don’t put in some models which, obviously, start to f*ck in a 2-3 days after they’re put together with some guys on a house, with the joy of cameramen who obviously are there to show you the whole stuff (it’s censored, but not much, really). “Scantly clad” is the absolute norm, sexual jokes are uncountable.

    I want to make an example in how much more “clean” to me is anime in respect to “standard TV”. Take Mai-HIME. The kiss Natsuki gives to Shizuru in ep.25 (if I remember well). It’s clearly homosexual stuff. But I didn’t find it any disturbing or obscene, I think it was very delicate, almost poetic, something which was coming out of a complex situation, not just a thing to “spice up”.

    In my respect, TV in my country is so uncomparably vulgar, obsessed with sex that anime, in this respect wins HANDS down.

    I find the “fanservice” in anime only slightly erotic, cometimes classy, sometimes used just for fun. But please, comparing it to my country’s TV in the sex department isn’t even FAIR. Anime,compared, is pure chastity, even if it talks about creepy things like incest, homosexuality, and stuff like that – leaving out hentai, of course.I can find nude photos of EVERY showgirl I find in italian TV on Internet . Every 31st of January there’s the “battle of calendars”, where every showgirl (and every “beautiful men”,now, of course) strives to get the best possible nude photo for the public to ogle. Former and not-so former porn-stars are becoming successful showgirls here (Eva Henger is an example). One was successfully elected in the parliament once, and made her campaign by showing her tits around (“cicciolina”….) – ok it’s not tv related, sorry.

    So, I couldn’t help a laugh, making a comparison to the sex-bombing that we take on tv here, and the stuff we see on anime.

    To me anime is poetic and/or funny in sex stuff, ITA tv is way too vulgar.

  18. The reason I believe anime is given a bad hype is because they’re not reluctant about it.
    It’s presented (mostly) the natural way, nothing holding it back, whether by traditions or whatever.

    I really think that you got the point down.

  19. You left out Onegai Teacher although you may just not have watched it.

    Also, the Nanoha comparison doesn’t work too well since generally 9-11 years olds don’t go around having sex in any country or on American TV (as far as I know). :P Although… it seems there’s been no relational progress between any of the characters (I was hoping for Nanoha/Fate

  20. Huh… my comment got cut for some reason… :/

    I hope it submits properly this time and not just the first 80 or so words. Well, here it is again:

    You left out Onegai Teacher although you may just not have watched it.

    Also, the Nanoha comparison doesn’t work too well since generally 9-11 years olds don’t go around having sex in any country or on American TV (as far as I know). ;P Although… it seems there’s been no relational progress between any of the characters (I was hoping for Nanoha/Fate ^^) in the six year later preview. But, it also seems as if it would have eventually been Nanoha/Yuuno if they had done another sequel, which is so unlikely it makes me sad. =[

    American TV seems more focused on the people who do treat sex like something they should just do whenever they feel like it and at any age (well generally at least 15) while anime seems focused on teens that are far more mature than their American counter-parts. I don’t know much about America but it can’t be totally different from England and I know that a lot of people around my age (16) treat sex like it is on American TV. But I doubt many of them will ever end up in a long-term relationship. The media is far too influential, in my opinion.

    The worst thing I’ve heard about the Japanese (and although I’d consider it worse then most things that go on in America, the sexual aspect of it is meant to be quite rare) is enjo kōsai: .

    Other than this, sex seems to be taken far more seriously in regards to who they have it with. This is shown quite well in some statistics I’ve found, which seem to be from trustworthy sources. Apparently in 2002, America had a divorce rate of around 31% (according to Wiki) and Japan had a divorce rate of around 15.7% (according to two year old article on a news website). Of course, showing that there is a much smaller divorce rate doesn’t necessarily mean they make more intelligent decisions in regards to sex but it is often true as sex leads to marriage in a lot of cases and thus, if they have sex more often, they are more likely to get married and it’s more common that the couple wouldn’t know whether they’re right for each other since they wouldn’t have spent enough time finding out.

    I also agree whoever said that anime does kissing far better than most TV shows could ever hope to do. If it was reality and you had 3-7 good looking girls (all of which have things you especially like about them in particular), fawning all over you, I doubt you’d wait months for your first kiss (or kiss that lasts more than 3 seconds) like in nearly every harem-style anime series.

    Anime can also get away with more than American TV as they’re considered, at least mostly, realistic, while most things to do with anime can be considered similar to thinking up a fantasy situation in your mind. Even Simoun, which has the most girl-girl kissing in an anime so far (which isn’t saying all that much as shoujo-ai is only just getting popular) is a lot calmer than American TV. Especially after the first one or two episodes as there isn’t as much need for the Simoun. The story in that is turning out really well, in my opinion and I think it’s stupid that most people stopped watching after the first episode then a load more after the second just due to girls kissing and then nearly everyone else once Doremi put less of their attention on subbing it and Simoun-Fans have only just taken it up a short while ago. Now it has a really crap temp. rating on AniDB due to impatient people. :(

    I’m sure I had some other things to say but I can’t remember them very well… If someone wants to criticise my opinions – although this blog is so old, I doubt many people will see it – then feel free to.

  21. LATE reply but I was browsing through some of your older entries and had to say I really enjoyed reading this and I agree with you 100% :)
    Three other anime series I can think of that deal with sex… Kimi ga Nozomu Eien where 2 seniors in high school that hook up rather suddenly in spring come very close to having sex in summer (they’re naked in bed when a parent returns home, and it’s unclear if they actually DO it). And then the more recent Bokura ga Ita where a similar situation to the one described above happens, though it’s already known that the boy had sex with 2 girls in middle school (the older sister in the gym and the younger on a total whim after he was dumped). And then NANA & Paradise Kiss (which I lump together) which have storylines similar to more American shows- there’s a lot of random hook ups and sex, though it isn’t made fun of.

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